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Reproduced courtesy Jets Swimwear

Jets Black Label 'Woollen Mermaid' swimsuit

Date: 2009
Overall: 570 x 360 mm, 175 g
Clothing size: 10
Medium: Nylon and elastane (spandex or Lycra)
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jets Swimwear
Object Copyright: © Jets Swimwear
Object Name: Swimsuit
Object No: 00046031

User Terms

    Jessika Allen, of Australian swimwear label Jets, designed this elegant asymmetrical black one-piece swimsuit featuring a sash and fabric flower on the left shoulder. The design aims to reflect timelessness, femininity and sophistication in the modern day woman. Jets is an established Australian swimwear label that has been operating since the 1970s. This suit forms part of their 2009 Black Label collection.
    SignificanceThis swimsuit shows the design interests of Jets, one of Australia's established swimwear brands, and its imaginative response to the Australian National Maritime Museum's 'Woollen Mermaid' project, part of its 2009 Black Label collection.
    HistoryApproaching its 30th anniversary, the Jets label was bought and relaunched by Jessika and Adrian Allen in 2001. Designer Jessika Allen had previously completed a degree in Fashion Design and Textiles and a postgraduate course in Tailoring at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan.

    As a premium luxury swimwear brand, Jets upholds a standard of superior quality through its heritage of craftsmanship and unique design style. With an efficient and specialised distribution network, as well as an active interest in technology and innovation, Jets now operates at the forefront of Australian swimwear fashion.

    In 2009 the Jets brand is split into three collections consisting of the White label, the Black Label and the Blue Label. The White Label focuses on strong sexy and cutting edge silhouettes, while the Black Label emphasises sophisticated, elegant and timeless pieces. The Blue Label targets a younger and lighthearted swimwear market.

    Jets is one of the contemporary swimwear designers invited to reinterpret the classic one-piece swimsuit using a technologically advanced wool/elastane textile for the Australian National Maritime Museum's 2009 exhibition 'Exposed! The Story of Swimwear'. The use of this fabric articulates the technological importance of performance textiles to fashioning a modern garment, whilst acknowledging the importance of wool as a yarn to Australia and the swimsuit's history.

    Looking to the past and designing for the future, the swimsuit designs embody a contemporary aesthetic and active glamour inspired by the original mermaid, Annette Kellerman. Kellerman (1886-1975) was the 'Australian Mermaid,' the 'Diving Venus' and the 'Perfect Woman.' Through a career as a long distance swimmer, diver, vaudeville performer and silent movie star she became a global identity associated with glamour and physical beauty. She was the first woman to attempt to swim the English Channel, and swam her way across Europe and the United States.

    Kellerman was a controversial individual. She was allegedly arrested for indecency preparing to swim along the coastline at Revere Beach, Boston in 1907 and expressed her independence and self-possession through bodily spectacle in daring swimsuits styled on the existing one-piece swimsuit design for men.

    There were initially no modifications made to the original, masculine design; no structuring to the contours of a woman's body, in particular the breast area, and it would not be until the 1930s that designers would feminise the swimsuit, and new technology would assist the development of textiles that would enhance its fit and performance.

    Kellerman's innovation was revealing the female body, which had been concealed beneath layers of clothes and corsets for centuries in the public arena. She was a role model for women, encouraging self-motivation and self-development. Kellerman extolled the virtues of exercise and a healthy diet to shape the body naturally. In 1918 her book 'Physical Beauty: How to Keep It' was published, and it promised that through a series of simple daily exercises in the home, every woman could achieve a level of physical beauty that was essential to the wearing of a body hugging one-piece swimsuit with confidence. As a prototypical Hollywood star she prefigured the celebrity culture focused on the body that has predominated since then.

    Jessika Allen's design statement for her Black Label 'Woolen Mermaid' swimsuit:

    'Inspired by the JETS woman, The Modern Muse Mermaid costume is a reflection of her timeless, sophisticated style. The glamorous swimming costume combines both wool/ Lycra with watery draped georgette. The asymmetrical one shoulder is offset by a feminine handmade wool georgette flower'.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Jets Black Label 'Woollen Mermaid' swimsuit

    Assigned title: Jets Black Label 'Woollen Mermaid' swimsuit

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